Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fox News, "Conservative" Talk Radio and the Rise of Donald Trump

After the hijacking of the Republican Party base by the Christofascists - who were stupidly initially welcomed by the so-called GOP establishment - perhaps the second most important factor in the descent of the GOP into a world detached from objective reality has been the impact of Fox News (a/k/a Faux News) and conservative talk radio programing.   In this sector of the airwaves, truth and facts don't matter and extremists and hate mongers set the tone of political discussion, assuming one even graces the demagoguery and spewing of hate with that that much courtesy.    It is these outlets that have turned those who would have been shunned by the Republican Party of old into "media stars" and given platforms to countless crackpots and false "experts."  A piece in the New York Times looks at how these "news outlets" have set the stage for Donald Trump's rise in the polls.  Here are excerpts:
The Republican Party’s internal war over the rise of Donald J. Trump is playing out among candidates and campaign operatives, but nowhere is it being heard more loudly than on commuters’ car radios.

Conservative talk radio has been abuzz with chatter about Mr. Trump since he started his presidential campaign last month with a salvo against illegal immigrants from Mexico . . . Despite the blowback — some would say because of it — Mr. Trump’s poll numbers have surged. The stirring of the restive Republican base on the radio airwaves provides both evidence and an explanation for his appeal.

Laura Ingraham made the case for Mr. Trump during her radio show on Tuesday, calling on Republicans to do some soul searching about why he was resonating with voters and outpacing established politicians in the polls despite his McCain comments.

Callers like Dave from Indiana were unfazed by the dust-up with Mr. McCain, seeing it as more proof that Mr. Trump is ready to battle for his beliefs and ideas. “The simple fact of the matter is that he fights,” he said. “That’s why he’s worth supporting.”

As Mr. Trump campaigns on, the power of conservative talk radio should not be underestimated.

“A lot of the Republican establishment will say talk radio is the problem, that it gins up the base, that it drives the party too far to the right,” said Tim Graham, who analyzes conservative media for the Media Research Center. The group was founded by conservatives to bring balance to the news media.

This summer the medium has amplified Mr. Trump as both a movement and an outlet for conservative outrage toward a party that has turned to moderate candidates in the last two presidential elections.

Mr. Gallagher observed that Mr. Trump is channeling the frustration harbored by conservatives who feel rejected by the Republican establishment and are generally disgusted with politicians.

The disgust can cut both ways, though, and on talk radio it is starting to do just that. Peter Wehner, a guest on Mr. Gallagher’s morning show, said that Republicans should no longer be silent in their opposition to Mr. Trump. Open criticism is the only way to stem his rise and the damage he does to the party.

Some popular hosts who were previously supportive of Mr. Trump are turning on him. . . .
“You’ve got to think broader than the base of your party if you want to win elections,” Mr. Hannity said, urging Mr. Trump to apologize.

According to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a communications professor at the University of Pennsylvania, much of Mr. Trump’s draw lies in his bluntness, a characteristic that also draws conservative listeners to talk radio hosts. The candidate is breaking what scholars call the “spiral of silence” and is validating voters who hold views that are widely considered politically incorrect. And the fact that party elites seem to loathe him only adds to the appeal.

Praising the billionaire businessman for not apologizing, Mr. Limbaugh urged Mr. Trump to carry on and keep standing up for himself. The left, he warned, was trying to demonize a Republican candidate for daring to speak his mind.
What is unspoken in the article is that most of the "outrage" of the  is actually the result of furor over lost white privilege and the party's growing overt racism.  Plus a total lack of concern for the less fortunate notwithstanding the pretense of supporting "Christian values."

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